Former Northwoods Land Trust Leader Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

Oct 15, 2019

Former Northwoods Land Trust executive director Bryan Pierce and Gathering Waters executive director Mike Carlson.
Credit Althea Dotzour Photography

A state organization called an Eagle River man “instrumental” for his role in helping protect natural places in northern Wisconsin.

Gathering Waters, Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts, honored Bryan Pierce with its Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award at a recent ceremony.

Pierce helped form the Northwoods Land Trust in 2001 and served as its executive director for 18 years.

Gathering Waters executive director Mike Carlson praised Pierce’s work for the area.

“He’s led an effort, over the last couple of decades, to protect some of the most beautiful and iconic areas of northern Wisconsin,” said Gathering Waters Executive Director Mike Carlson.

Under Pierce’s leadership, the Northwoods Land Trust, through land donations and conservation easements, has protected 13,000 acres and 70 miles of natural shoreline in Oneida, Vilas, Price, Iron, Forest, Florence, and northern Langlade counties.

“There’s a lot to be said for how much of a leader Bryan was in terms of really cultivating those personal connections,” Carlson said.  “He really cares about people and about trying to make life better in communities in the Northwoods.”

Most recently, Pierce helped navigate a donation of 4.4 miles of natural shoreline on Lake Katherine in Hazelhurst.  The donation by the Yawkey Lumber Company earned it a Land Legacy Award from Gathering

Nancy-Leigh Fisher, Alice Smith and Joe Smith, shareholders of the Yawkey Lumber Company, accept their award from Mike Carlson, executive director of Gathering Waters.
Credit Althea Dotzour Photography

Waters.

The property is valued at about $12 million.

“To protect four miles of shoreline there is just remarkable, obviously, with the generosity of that family, but also, the hard work of Bryan and his team to get that done,” Carlson said.  “Bryan’s leadership with the Northwoods Land Trust has been amazing.”

For years, Pierce also served in a statewide capacity and helped increase the number of Wisconsin land trusts from 12 to 42.

“We saw just a tremendous amount of growth in these local nonprofits out there protecting land for water and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation,” Carlson said.  “Bryan was just instrumental in helping to support that statewide movement as it grew.”

Ted Anchor took over as the new executive director of the Northwoods Land Trust upon Pierce’s retirement.